Stage Door Johnny
|Stage Door Johnny|
|Trainer||John M. Gaver, Sr.|
|Stage Door Johnny is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Peroxide Blonde by Prince John. He was born around 1965 in the United States, and was bred by Greentree Stud.|
Belmont Stakes (1968)|
Dwyer Handicap (1968)
Saranac Handicap (1968)
|U.S. Co-Champion 3-Yr-Old-Colt (1968)|
|Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame (1977)|
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
|Last updated on January 14, 2008|
Bred for racing a distance
Owned by the Whitney family's prominent Greentree Stable, Stage Door Johnny was sired by Prince John, a four-time leading broodmare sire in North America. His grandsire was the very important stallion Princequillo, a horse of great endurance who won several important races at longer distances. Princequillo broke the Saratoga Race Course record for 1¾ miles and his performances were such that he is considered to be the best long-distance runner in American racing history.
Stage Door Johnny's damsire was the great Irish colt Ballymoss, winner of several races at the Belmont Stakes distance of 1½ miles including the Irish Derby, England's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and France's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe,
The 1968 Belmont Stakes
Stage Door Johnny did not run in the 1¼ mile Kentucky Derby or the 13/16 mile Preakness Stakes. Trained by future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee, John M. Gaver, Sr., Stage Door Johnny's breeding and conditioning had him ready for the gruelling 1½ mile Belmont Stakes.
In 1968 a great deal of controversy swirled around the Belmont Stakes as Forward Pass had won the first two legs of the U.S. Triple Crown series as a result of the disqualification of Kentucky Derby winner Dancer's Image. The controversy filled the sporting news of every media outlet in North America and was the cover story for Sports Illustrated magazine which referred to it as the sports story of the year. A victory by Forward Pass in the Belmont Stakes would make him the first Triple Crown winner in twenty years and many fans, experts, and CBS racing commentators felt he would be an illegitimate champion.
Ridden by Heliodoro Gustines, Stage Door Johnny ended the Triple Crown debate when he won the Belmont Stakes in 2:27 1/5 with Forward Pass coming second, a length-and-a-half back. Stage Door Johnny went on to win the Saranac Handicap at the end of June  then July's Dwyer Handicap . At a time when three different organizations voted on the various annual racing awards, two voted Stage Door Johnny 1968's U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old-Colt while one gave it to Forward Pass.
Retired to stud duty at Greentree Stud in Lexington, Kentucky, Stage Door Johnny proved a successful sire of a number of stakes race winners including:
- Johnny D. - winner of the 1977 Turf Classic Invitational Stakes and defeated some of the best horses from around the world in the Washington, D.C. International. He was voted the 1977 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Male Turf Horse.
- Late Bloomer - filly who was a multiple Grade I winner and voted the 1978 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Older Female Horse
- Open Call - wins included the 1981 Rothmans International Stakes
- Class Play - filly who won the 1984 Coaching Club American Oaks
- Open Mind, won Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, voted American Champion 2-Year-Old Filly (1988), American Champion 3-Year-Old Filly (1989)
Stage Door Johnny died in November 1996 at the age of thirty-one and is buried at Greentree Stud, now part of the Gainesway Farm property.